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Do People With Asthma Need Flu Shots?

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Updated July 22, 2010

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Question: Do People With Asthma Need Flu Shots?
When you have a chronic medical condition such as asthma, making a decision about whether or not you should get a flu shot is not always easy. You have to be sure you are doing what is best for your health. So should you get a flu shot or not?
Answer:

Flu shots are important for many groups of people, but especially for people with asthma. Because asthma is a respiratory condition, people who have it are at high risk for complications from the flu.

The flu is primarily a respiratory illness and can be especially severe for those with asthma. Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from this potentially deadly disease.

Can those with asthma get the nasal flu vaccine?
Unfortunately, the nasal flu vaccine (also known as FluMist), cannot be given to people with asthma because asthma patients could suffer from wheezing after nasal vaccination.

When should someone with asthma not get the flu vaccine?
Most everyone with asthma should get a flu shot every year, but there are a few exceptions. If you have a severe egg allergy, have a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome or a previous adverse reaction to a flu vaccine, you should not get the flu shot. If you aren't sure if the flu shot is right for you, speak to your health care provider to determine what is best for your situation.

The Bottom Line
Many people with asthma do not realize how important it is to get a flu vaccine each year. The American Lung Association runs an ad campaign each flu season called "Faces of Influenza" to help us all see those who are affected by the flu.

Actor Dean Cain has been a spokesperson for the "Faces of Influenza" campaign for a number of years. Although he has played Superman on TV, he actually suffers from asthma and knows the importance of the flu vaccine for himself and his family. Dean took the time to speak with us about his personal experience with the flu and flu shot. See what he has to say about flu shots for all of us and especially those with asthma.

If you or a loved one has asthma, don't take chances with your health - get a flu shot.

Sources:

"Got Asthma? Get Your Flu Shots!" Asthma. 24 Sep 09. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 20 Jul 10.

  1. About.com
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  5. Flu Vaccine Questions
  6. Do You Need a Flu Shot?
  7. Flu Shots and Asthma - Flu Shots for People With Asthma

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